LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Experts gathered in one East Texas town for an instructional drill in the event of a broken or ruptured underground pipeline.
At the Longview Fairgrounds and Expo center, crews from various power and energy companies gathered to learn how best to deal with the dangerous situation of a broken or ruptured underground line, which included a mock line breach.
Statistically in Texas, an underground line break occurs 240 times a day; some slight, some not so slight.
Dealing with it was the purpose of the East Texas Safety Day and mock line strike.
“We find that homeowners and out-of-state excavators still are unfamiliar with the laws of Texas on excavations. Call before you dig,” says John Sparks of Texas 811.
In a mock incident, an air-filled line is breached. The point of the exercise is not only to increase response time but also quick action, to make sure a small incident doesn’t turn into a dangerous incident.
"We cover a lot of damage prevention across the state communication and outreach," Sparks says.
There are roughly 448,000 miles of underground lines in Texas, including gas, fiber-optic and oil, and this training deals with inevitable breaks,
“I think it’s important that we play a vital role in prevention. and that’s what you saw here. Our response includes members that are hazardous material techs. They go in and they detect whether we have an explosive environment, businesses, intersections roads, and so on,” says Longview Fire Captain Charles Clanton.
Numerous power and energy companies sent workers to the instructional event, as well as police a fire.
“Critical for us because it not only shows excavators the right way and the wrong way to excavate around lines, but it also helps emergency responders understand the product that’s in those lines. I think it drives it home when you see the sights and sounds when an actual gas line is ruptured,” says Sparks.
Event organizers urge that anyone doing any digging or excavating, call Texas 8-1-1 before breaking any ground to check for underground lines.